Have you completed numerous public sector bids, but not had much success? There is a definite knack to winning and if you are wondering why you never seem to win, check that you are doing all of the below:
Prior to bidding, you MUST do the following (many people do not do this and it is vital – see our free e-book for more information):
- Do your research and pursue only relevant contracts – don’t be tempted to just bid for anything which seems vaguely related to your product or service. You need to find the right customers for your business. Be strategic about your bidding and develop criteria for the types of bids you will pursue to make sure that you’re not wasting your time.
- Get to know the buyer – make contact with the buyer well in advance and build a relationship with them. They are then likely to call on you asking for your expertise as a ‘subject matter expert’ prior to putting together their procurement. NB. If you don’t have a relationship with the buyer or the buyer doesn’t know you, you are very unlikely to win, so make this a priority (see our free e-Book for details).
- Register on the relevant tender portals – Register on all the relevant portals (eg. Procontract and Contracts Finder) to make sure you hear about your chosen opportunities in good time. As soon as the OJEU notice is published, the buyer will disappear for the duration of the tender process, so don’t expect them to notify you personally.
Only once you have completed 1, 2 and 3, can you embark on the bid itself:
- Follow all the instructions on the tender documentation – if you are asked to complete the tender in a certain format, make sure you do, and don’t ignore word counts or any other instructions. Your bid can be disqualified if it does not adhere to the guidelines. If you have any questions, you can ask the buyer (the tender will provide instructions for communication).
- Make the content relevant and honest – when completing your bid, be honest, don’t exaggerate (don’t make bold statements, such as ‘we are the industry leader’ without backing this up with evidence), complete all sections in full and don’t send in stock corporate sales materials and standard copy.
- Be Creative – having your bid designed by a professional doesn’t necessarily add much value to a public sector bid, but you should still be creative with your content. Make sure that you have understood the question and then go beyond expectations with your answer. Show that you can go the extra mile and include examples. Detail your USP and make your response 100% relevant to the requirement.
- Know the difference between the PQQ and ITT phases – the PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) is about selection criteria and short-listing, so the focus is backward-looking. Here, you need to demonstrate your credentials as a company before getting the chance to actually bid for the work on offer. Bidding for the actual work on offer is through the ITT (Invitation to Tender). This document is forward-looking and you need to focus on how you will seek to perform the contract.
- Price appropriately – the price you bid within the tender is the price they will evaluate. If you do price at a point whereby your market intelligence suggests you will win, always ensure that the price is sustainable for you.
- Submit the tender on time – most public bodies have a zero-tolerance approach to late tenders. Plan your time and allow time to upload the documents (I always recommend submitting a bid at least 24 hours prior to the deadline).
- Get help – if you do not have the time or experience, you can get professional help in completing your bid. There are experts who develop public sector responses as a profession (Bidbetter wins 80% public sector bids that they assist clients with and 100% of framework agreements).
If you would like to know more about how to win public sector contracts, please contact me for a no obligation chat about anything to do with public sector bidding. I’m on +44 (0) 1202 237506 or email Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also download my free ebook ‘Four Key Steps to Winning Your Next Public Sector Bid’ for more information about the vital pre-bid stage of researching, engaging and influencing the buyer.